I am really drawn to portraits that are lit in such a way that the light doesn’t draw a whole lot of attention to itself. In other words, I like photos that are well lit but not over-lit. In the photo above, the quality of the light is nice but you have to look around for a moment to really “see” how it was lit. There was a good balance between ambient and flash and they blended together well.
Once you learn some of the basics of lighting and you have a good handle on the technical side of it, you should challenge yourself to step up your game a bit. Learn to light a photo so that it looks naturally lit. The old “key light with two kickers at a 45 on either side of the subject” has been played out.
When you put a little thought into how you’re going to light a photo so that it looks like something you just walked upon you will be amazed at the results you can achieve. After all, it is all about the light.